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Carlisle Ford Runge writes that the U.S. is tilted against the poor and that “[t]he bitter truth is that America is not (and perhaps never has been) a land of opportunity for the poor.” (“Black or white, the poor are trapped at the bottom,”...

Readers Write (Aug. 1): Poverty and opportunity, the nation's founding, prescription drug prices, Robbinsdale's Terrace Theatre, campaign finance loophole, road construction

Carlisle Ford Runge writes that the U.S. is tilted against the poor and that “[t]he bitter truth is that America is not (and perhaps never has been) a land of opportunity for the poor.” (“Black or white, the poor are trapped at the bottom,”...

Readers Write (Aug. 1): Poverty and opportunity, the nation's founding, prescription drug prices, Robbinsdale's Terrace Theatre, campaign finance loophole, road construction

Carlisle Ford Runge writes that the U.S. is tilted against the poor and that “[t]he bitter truth is that America is not (and perhaps never has been) a land of opportunity for the poor.” (“Black or white, the poor are trapped at the bottom,” July 25.) While it may be contrary to Runge’s narrative, in that statement he conveniently ignores at least 100 years of social and economic history in this country. So let me personalize it. My grandparents were immigrants who came to the U.S. not speaking a word of English, and, indeed, one of my grandmothers never actually learned to write English. They came to the U.S. with very little money and obviously started out in poverty. Most of the people I grew up with either had immigrant grandparents or immigrant parents. Yet for all of those immigrant grandparents who I knew growing up (both mine and those of the friends I grew up with), this was the land of opportunity, and their children and grandchildren managed to lift themselves out of poverty, as did most of the grandparents themselves. For Runge to claim that America has never been a land of opportunity for the poor is patently ridiculous. But, then again, a recognition of history is counter to the story he wants us to believe.

Ken Cutler, Edina

THE NATION’S FOUNDING

How a country came together, imperfectly but with promise

A July 25 letter writer referred to the Federalist Papers as being the product of a “handful of admittedly illustrious writers.” Those illustrious writers were Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay. The papers consist of 85 letters to the editor. The purpose of the letters was to convince people of the 13 colonies to support a newly written Constitution. From their various perspectives, they build the case for a Constitution that would hold the country together. From the very founding document, the Articles of Confederation, the founding writer/philosophers bravely sought to create a framework that would form our country and provide a platform for, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.” Their focus on holding the country together resulted in the saddest chapter of American history — their failure to outlaw slavery. At the time, if they would have banned slavery, they would never have received the constitutional support of the Southern states. They were not perfect, but their contribution to all of us is outstanding.

Richard Cornell, St. Paul

PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES

A helpful proposal from a bipartisan group in Congress

Of all the issues that will be discussed on the campaign trail leading up to November, I hope we hear more about lowering prices for medications and giving families the financial breathing room they deserve. As chief medical officer for Prime Therapeutics (Prime), a national pharmacy benefit manager headquartered here in Minnesota, I know firsthand how high drug prices affect families in our state.

Today, the lack of competition in pharmaceutical treatments often leaves patients with only one choice for medication. That’s why I was glad to see Sen. Amy Klobuchar and a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduce new legislation last month to fix the broken prescription drug market. Klobuchar’s legislation, the “Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples” Act (CREATES Act), would add more competition to the market and provide patients with more affordable choices for medication. This bill comes as patients, families and communities across Minnesota share their experiences with high drug prices and ask policymakers for solutions. The good news is that our elected officials are listening.

Dr. Jonathan Gavras, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

The writer works at Prime Therapeutics’ office in Bloomington.

TERRACE THEATRE

In Robbinsdale, a true landmark, not easy to imitate, may be lost

Minnesotans would raise a stink heard around the world if a developer wanted to level St. Paul’s Cathedral to build a giant strip mall and gas station. Believers and nonbelievers point with pride to that church, which is a point of reference in talking about the urban landscape.

You don’t have to live in Robbinsdale or have seen a movie there to know that the Terrace Theatre, long after it was vacated 16 years ago, has a magnetic presence and is a point of reference, with its tower atop a hill. The theater’s owners and architects did Robbinsdale a huge favor in 1950 with a community focal point of distinctive design that sets it apart from larger suburbs with more resources.

Bloomington civic leaders tried to recreate that Terrace moment with their own tower that may be derivative of the Terrace design. The Bloomington Clock Tower has not done for Bloomington what the Terrace Theatre did for Robbinsdale.

The uninspired design of strip malls has become a depressing suburban blight. The Robbinsdale development that would level the midcentury design Terrace Theatre is a re-emergence of the kind of suburban blight we hated in the 1950s and ’60s, only it’s bigger.

The 1989 Italian film masterpiece “Cinema Paradiso” recreates the magnetism of the movie palace and its importance in community life as a universal certainty, no matter how humble the structure. Here then is a defining moment for the region as one city makes a decision that will resonate beyond its borders to either save or demolish a historic movie palace that we call our own.

David Zarkin, Bloomington

TEACHER LICENSURE

Perhaps ask of this profession what we ask of others?

The Star Tribune seems to strongly support alternative licensing for teachers (“Board of Teaching fails test on licensing,” editorial, July 23). Correct me if I am wrong, but don’t doctors and lawyers (and many other professions) coming to Minnesota from other states and countries need to comply with the same licensing as all other members of their professions? Why shouldn’t teachers? Or is teaching “the future” not that important?

Jane Pagenkopf, Golden Valley

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Daudt can expect foes outside his district to exploit a loophole

In the July 24 article about Rep. Kurt Daudt facing a more conservative primary challenger, the Minnesota House speaker notes that the challenge is being engineered by foes from outside the district. Instead of contributing to the Republican presidential candidate, billionaire right-wing money is being directed to the states where a little money can go a long way in producing results. The speaker can expect several mailings to his constituents just before the election that will vilify him using inaccurate facts. The mailings will be anonymous due to a loophole in Minnesota law that does not require disclosure of expenditures by “independent” groups. Most states and the federal government do not permit this secret spending. This affront to democracy should be corrected by bill No. 1 in the 2017 session.

George Beck, St. Louis Park

The writer is a former chair of the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

ROAD CONSTRUCTION

This shutting down of highways ought to be un-Minnesotan

I have lived in or near major cities all over the U.S. — Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Indianapolis, Detroit, Atlanta and others. In all those years, I have never seen a city close entire directions of major highways. Ever. For the last two years visiting Minneapolis — my hometown — this has been the case with major arteries. Not one lane. Not temporary shunting of traffic to the opposite side. It is absolutely stunning in its lack of thoughtful planning. My past image of Minnesota pragmatism, foresight and creativity is gone.

Jeff Pinkham, Dublin, Ohio

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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